New South Wales Education Minister Rob Stokes has ordered a review of the use of smartphones in schools following concerns from parents that it is distracting students and leading to a rise in cyberbullying. Source: SBS News.
“While smartphones connect us to the world in ways never imagined just a decade ago, they raise issues that previous generations have not had to deal with,” Mr Stokes said in a statement yesterday.
Former St Paul’s Catholic College principal Mark Baker, who banned the use of mobile phones in the Manly school’s classrooms, insists the review needs to go further and look at the impact and appropriateness of technology in schools.
“There’s been a blind rush to embrace technology ... children are totally immersed in it,” the now relief-principal told AAP yesterday.
Mr Baker said while smartphones can be “fantastic” for learning they often distract students and allow them to access inappropriate material or bully others in class.
As a teacher for 42 years, Mr Baker believes NSW should look at South Korea’s policy, which bans students from using any electronic device until they reach grade 5.
“It’s the land of Samsung and their mantra is the book. They recognise the most powerful thing in a school is a book, not an electronic device,” he said.
Catholic Schools NSW chief Dallas McInerney yesterday welcomed the review, saying it was sensible and necessary given the massive growth in hand-held technology over the past decade.
“It’s very timely to review the impact of smart phones and other devices on school students,” Mr McInerney said.
“As education leaders, it is our responsibility to understand how smart phones and other hand-held devices impact student learning and wellbeing, and to put in place any policies that are needed to help improve these situations.”
He said smart phones and other devices were part of the 21st century and their use by students was well-entrenched.
“What we need to consider is whether it’s beneficial to continue that use during school hours or restrict it, and how any restriction would work and be enforced.
Review of smartphone use in NSW schools (SBS News)